Removing Abandoned Cabling – aka Cable Mining

The National Electrical Code (NEC 2002) requires that all abandoned copper and fiber cable be removed. Literally, miles of cabling left in the ceilings and in the walls from previous network and power installations by previous tenants have accumulated in most of our buildings. These abandoned cables are a source for fueling fire, smoke and lethal toxic fumes that can incapacitate and kill. The Code states “…The accessible portion of abandoned communications cables shall not be permitted to remain..” and that abandoned cables in vertical runs shall not be permitted to remain.

These abandoned wires may now render your property out of code, jeopardize your fire insurance, and represent a significant legal liability. The new rules make it a violation to have abandoned wires in your building’s risers or plenums and, in addition, mandate the use of specific wiring standards for new installs. Why does abandoned cable present such a problem? The accumulation of miles and miles of cabling left in the ceilings and walls of facilities has become a major concern for life safety over the past 10 years. Cables that are abandoned in ceilings, riser systems, and air-handling systems are a source for fueling fire, smoke, and lethal toxic fumes that can incapacitate, even kill. In addition, PVC jackets tend to break down over time. This decomposition process is accelerated by exposure to increased temperatures and humidity.

The new NEC rules are quite complex, and often confusing , causing building owners to wonder which way to turn. Mid America Cabling and Communications, a Division of Schultz Brothers Electric Company has the knowledge and practical expertise to guide you through this rather murky area of danger and liability related to abandoned wiring. Furthermore, we have a highly skilled technical staff capable of performing the identification and removal task according to code and very economically.

Looking forward, we support the efforts of each building owner to amend leases and residential rules, so that the building remains in compliance after each tenancy. On the other hand, in support of commercial Tenants/Occupants, we provide technical expertise and cabling installation / cabling removal services which are fully compliant with NEC requirements and can avoid end of lease penalties.

Abandoned cable can easily be found in hospitals, schools and office buildings that were built many years ago, and then expanded in recent years. Particularly vulnerable and in need of urgent corrective action is the healthcare industry, where abandoned cables abound and safety concerns are a high priority.

As building owners embark on the mandated clean-up effort, we as a premiere cabling company in the field, strongly feel that we have the obligation to reduce the financial impact of bringing buildings into compliance. Simply ripping out and automatically throwing away all cabling not in current use, would be easy for the contractor, but an unacceptable waste for the building owner. The smart, economical solution is, test it, tag it “for future use” and convert a potential liability into a building asset.?

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